Pretoria-born Elon Musk becomes world’s richest man again
Elon Musk is the richest man in world again, according to The Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index, a daily ranking of the world’s richest people that puts Musk back in first place with $221 billion.
Now streaming on Showmax, The Elon Musk Show gets to the heart of who the Pretoria-born billionaire really is, by interviewing the people who know him best.
Family members, employees, close friends and enemies tell the intimate story of Elon’s incredible journey to becoming the world’s richest man.
The documentary series kicks off in 1995, in the early years of the Silicon Valley tech boom, when Elon is a geeky young South African battling to make his fortune, while sleeping on the floor of his office and washing at the local YMCA.
The Elon Musk Show charts how Elon became a multi-millionaire at the age of just 28 – and how close he came to losing it all with Tesla and SpaceX.
From building underground tunnels to creating chips that can be inserted into people’s brains to attempting to build the biggest battery factory the world has ever seen, The Elon Musk Show follows Elon until 2022 as he chases his remarkable dreams, which include taking humanity to Mars.
As The Independent (UK) says, “The Elon Musk Show is extremely well-made … beautifully and painstakingly blended together with real care and craft … Such is the attention to detail, it’s worthy of Musk himself.”
Nominated for a 2023 BAFTA for its music, The Elon Musk Show is made by 72 Films, who have also produced films on Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump. We caught up with Mark Raphael, the joint CEO of 72 Films.
Can you sum up The Elon Musk Show?
The Elon Musk Show is a three-part series about the richest man in the world. About how he came from South Africa to America and took some amazing risks. By and large, they all paid off.
Why did you choose Elon as the subject?
We like to tell stories that people would talk about in the pub.
Elon’s status has grown over the last four or five years and I think it’s a good time to tell his story. He’s now the richest man in the world, but he’s also trying to go to Mars. It’s relevant. His life in some way or another will touch a lot of the populace.
How did you approach Elon’s story?
We wanted to tell a truthful, honest account of his life, in a thoughtful, intelligent, entertaining and revealing way. We wanted to feel as though we were as close to his story as possible, through people that were in the room with Elon.
We’ve interviewed a number of people for the first time – people that worked with him from day one at Tesla, SpaceX, Zip2, or PayPal. We also interview his mother, his father and his ex-wives, and the people who have known him for a long time, so it feels like a very intimate account of his life.
Did this documentary change your personal opinions on Elon?
My opinion did change about Elon. I didn’t know much about him when I started, and I suppose I had the usual clichéd opinion of him. Is he a good guy or a bad guy? Is he a bit of a Bond villain? An Iron Man? I learned in the making of the project that he’s a proper genius. He can turn his mind to rocket science and to military cars. He’s a serious engineer, and I think he’s a bit different to the clichéd version I had in mind. Not only is he an entrepreneur or a visionary, he’s also incredibly bright.
What surprised you most about Elon?
I don’t think people know how close he came to going bankrupt several times. And yet, Elon has a lot of people that have supported him through thick and thin. In terms of the company he keeps, he’s got some very good friends. I suppose that says something about him – there’s a lot of loyalty out there for him. But like anyone who has done what he’s done, he’s made a few enemies, so you have to look at it in the round.
What do you want viewers to take away from this story?
It’s good to understand the people that shape our world. Elon Musk is a central figure trying to make the human race a multi-planetary species. I think he probably will get to Mars. I think it’s good to be informed and to have a view on that. I think it’s good to know what you think about the richest man that’s ever lived. It’s useful to have a take on him, to understand him, his motivations and how he’s become so rich. I think it’s very important.